The Story of Aya and Shay – Amazing Cold day reading

29 May 2020 Posted by in News and Events | 1 comment

Greetings All ….THIS WILL warm your soul … enjoy!



The Story of Aya and Shay


On a Sunday afternoon about thirteen weeks ago a baby Egyptian gosling, seemingly abandoned by its parents and siblings at the yacht club, discovered new parents in Shay and Lee and their dogs who live at Interlaken. Named Aya, this little bird crept into their hearts and has grown from a scruffy little thing into a beautiful adult goose.


This is Shay’s story of Aya’s life to date.




A large flock of about 45+ Egyptian geese had just recently fledged and had left the yacht club grounds. One Sunday afternoon a man who was fixing his boat noticed that a little bird had not stopped following him around for two hours. Lee was washing his car at the time and the two of them got into a conversation for a while and when the man left, he inevitably did a “drop-off”. Lee was left with a very chirpy companion following him around as he washed the car, but he got concerned because she was trying to drink the soapy water. He came to tell me that a bird was following him around outside the gate and pretty much as he was talking about it, the small thing squeezed underneath the gate and made her presence known, little wings raised, chirping loudly for attention.


I knew she had no one to look after her – I picked her up and instantly bonded with her as she snuggled into my neck for comfort. We were quite astounded at how brave she was – totally unfazed by our dogs who actually had no choice in the matter!


Aya had moved in and for the first two weeks she was at my side non-stop.



Settling in, poop and all


The first two nights I slept with her in the lounge with a towel draped over me (she poops a lot during the night). This wasn’t sustainable because I hardly got any sleep as she didn’t seem to stop chirping all night. On day three she went into a crate covered with a towel and some stuff to cuddle up with, but that was a hot mess the next day, so we opted for newspaper and a blanket right over the crate. As the days went by she would start jumping out the crate and pooping all over the office in the mornings. Aya was not flying yet so I felt she needed to be protected at night from cats, owls, rats, otters etc… I wasn’t taking any chances, but we could not keep her inside as her poop really stinks!  So we moved her outside into a dog kennel with a plastic sheet and straw which we would then empty into the garden the next day … great fertiliser!  The kennel had a makeshift door that she could kick down in the mornings, but it didn’t always open, so we were regularly woken at 6:30 by an impatient little Aya.

Sit, Aya sit


Aya has been pretty much self-sufficient since she arrived. She kept wanting to join in when we fed the dogs so I distracted her with some wild bird seed. We took her to the water to sift through for nutrients, but she was really not that interested in the vlei or swimming. She loves grass and snails… and we have a lot of those here.


Aya takes to the skies

 It has been so amazing to see her grow, gain her independence and change appearance. Just a few days ago Aya took to the skies and has flown around about five times now.  She is sleeping outside next to our stairs and keeps close to the dogs. Although she is now leaving our property, she still spends a lot of time in our garden, and sometimes grazes into the crazy hours of the night.

We are not yet sure about the sex, but I am sticking with female for now. If she turns out to be a boy, then so be it. The most obvious way to tell the sexes apart is size and whether they honk or cackle (females) or hiss (males). Aya is still chirping…

In the evenings, she is particularly friendly and still likes to cuddle. I think she still sees me as mom as I often call her and she comes to me. I am, however, getting worried about the territorial pair of geese on the yacht club property as they chased all their babies away once they had fledged and are not happy to see Aya waddling around. They have attacked her a few times now that she has gotten bigger, but only twice has the male come into the garden. As Aya starts flying around more often, I am afraid they might not be so tolerant of her.



Please look out for Aya and slow down

I am also concerned for her safety outside of the yacht club grounds. Please look out for her on Peninsula Road and slow down.


What does it mean to be human?

Aya coming into my life has been a great gift and opened my heart with so much joy. Caring for her has been a rare pleasure that I feel very blessed to have been chosen for. Not only has she been adorable to look after, but she got me questioning a lot of things that run deeper than a bath of water.


One day at the vlei, she suddenly had this incredible first dive from the embankment… which actually made me quite emotional, almost like witnessing a baby’s first steps. I saw her move her body under the water like she had never done before. I was worried that I would have to teach her these “goosey” things, but I didn’t have to –  she just knew, it was inside her and spontaneously unfurled…her animal instinct.

This left me thinking “what is our human instinct?”


Beside this confusing, consuming material world we have come to know as civilisation, beyond that, what is our raw primordial human instinct? I have been thinking about this question a lot and often ask people what they think it is to “be human”.

It has started some interesting conversations and the answer to the question still continues to elude me.



So as Aya is on her way to discovering what it is to be a goose, I am on my way to discovering what it is to be human.





We trust that you enjoyed this story so far and we look forward to the next feedback …. STAY SAFE  AYA!


Be a Friend 🙂

  1. Ayesha06-07-20

    This is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read! And Aya has been in our yard all day, everyday for the last two weeks! Please let Shay know 🙂

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